(Nov. 12, 2009)—U.S. Foodservice continues to advocate for the development and implementation of internationally recognized accreditation and certification processes to certify suppliers in food safety around the world. Recent presentations given by U.S. Foodservice in partnership with global initiatives like the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and GLOBALGAP (Good Agricultural Practices) demonstrate the company's leadership in global food safety issues.
"As more of the food we eat originates outside the United States, the time has come to apply international food safety standards and controls," said Jorge Hernandez, senior vice president of food safety and quality assurance for U.S. Foodservice. "Because we rely so heavily on our international trade partners for food products, it is essential to think and act globally to address food safety concerns."
Hernandez presented on the topic of food safety on behalf of the GFSI at INOFOOD 2009 in Santiago, Chile in late October 2009. The summit drew more than 500 industry leaders from five countries to discuss food safety issues.
In his presentation, Hernandez discussed the factors that have created a lack of efficiency and high costs to the supply chain, including the proliferation of private regulation schemes, as well as the burden and expense for producers and suppliers who are subject to frequent audits that do not always increase product safety.
To combat these inefficiencies, Hernandez explained GFSI's approach to creating commonly agreed to criteria for food safety standards, against which any supplier can be benchmarked. To date, GFSI's efforts have resulted in harmonization and continued improvement of international food safety standards.
While Hernandez presented in Santiago, U.S. Foodservice reinforced the company's commitment to harmonizing international food safety regulation in a presentation to GLOBALGAP's TOUR 2009 in Washington, DC.
The TOUR is part of GLOBALGAP's outreach and consultation to key stakeholders potentially affected by its new guidelines that will be published in 2011. U.S. Foodservice's presentation explained the growing demand in the United States for mandatory and voluntary third-party certification programs to verify international suppliers' safety standard compliance.
U.S. Foodservice's participation demonstrates the company's ongoing support for the GLOBALGAP's TOUR 2009. Hernandez, who led the effort to implement GLOBALGAP's standards into U.S. Foodservice's requirements for national and foreign producers, presented at GLOBALGAP's Montevideo conference in September and will again present during the final stop of the tour in Athens this week.
"Our goal is to make food safety standards and protection methods as global as our food supply," said Hernandez. "We look forward to continuing to work with our industry partners to ensure that food safety standards translate successfully to all the countries involved in the global food chain."